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Donnacha Dennehy

Princeton, NJ   

Donnacha Dennehy Biography

Born in Dublin in 1970, Donnacha Dennehy has received commissions from Dawn Upshaw, the Kronos Quartet, Alarm Will Sound, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Bang On A Can, Icebreaker, Joanna MacGregor, Percussion Group of the Hague, RTE National Symphony Orchestra, BBC Ulster Orchestra and the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players among others. Collaborations include pieces with the writer Enda Walsh (Misterman and a forthcoming opera), the choreographers Yoshiko Chuma (2×5) and Shobana Jeyasingh, (Hinterlands), and the visual artist John Gerrard (Composition for Percussion, Loops, Blips and Flesh).


His work has featured in festivals such as the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival in the UK (which opened its 2012 Festival with a portrait concert devoted to Dennehy’s music), ISCM World Music Days, Carnegie Hall’s Contemporary Music Subscription Series (in 2013 and forthcoming in 2014), WNYC’s New Sounds Live, Bang On A Can, Ultima Festival in Oslo, Musica Viva Lisbon, the Saarbrucken Festival, the Schleswig-Holstein Festival, and the Gaudeamus Festival in Amsterdam. In 2010 his large single-movement orchestral piece, Crane was ‘recommended’ by the International Rostrum of Composers


Returning to Ireland after studies abroad in the USA, France and Holland, Dennehy founded the Crash Ensemble, Dublin’s now-renowned new music group, in 1997. Alongside the singers Dawn Upshaw and Iarla O’Lionáird, Crash Ensemble features on the 2011 Nonesuch release of Dennehy’s music, entitled Grá agus Bás. NPR named it one of its “50 favorite albums’’ (in any genre) of 2011. In July 2012, Cantaloupe released an EP of his piano music, played by Lisa Moore. Previous releases include a number by NMC Records in London. Normally a lecturer at Trinity College Dublin, Donnacha was appointed a Global Scholar for three years at Princeton University in the Autumn of 2012. He was also appointed composer-in-residence for the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra in Texas (2013-14).